The first winery-owned restaurant on the South Fork has opened its bi-fold patio doors to Sag Harbor’s light and Main Street sidewalk. There is a two-and-a-half-week wait for reservations to enjoy the local, fresh and seasonal “wine-friendly food” offered by co-owners and siblings, Marc and Joey Wölffer. The extension of their Wölffer Estate Vineyard was conceived, designed and constructed in less than six months, with a soft opening in July. Two years ago, the siblings took over ownership and operations of Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, which was started by their father, Hamburg-born Christian Wölffer, a renowned vintner who died in 2008.
Guests can fine dine on the outside patio, which is, weather permitting, fully open to the indoor, old-world modern fusion dining area. Diners are also welcome to enjoy coffee and dessert or a snack and cocktail at the bar, which has its own menu.
Wölffer Estate quality and high standards are apparent to the taste buds as well as the eyes. European style with historic touches blend with the restaurant’s bohemian flavor, including a seasonal accent wall and hostess podium, which currently reflects their ‘Summer in a Bottle’ design. Scott Hewitt, a celebrated local artist, painted both murals.
Mediterranean influences can be experienced in their freshly made pasta, too, which was recently served with fresh blue fin tuna, tomatoes, olives, basil, and asparagus. Diners with the sensitivity or desire can choose a homemade gluten-free version upon request, a challenge that has been mastered by their executive chef.
“Our chef is Deena Chafetz and she is absolutely amazing,” said Vukasin Markovljev (Vuk), the restaurant’s general manager.
The current summer menu offers a dozen starters, two house-made pastas, and five mains in addition to sumptuous specials and vegetable sides. Main course prices range from $25 for a vegetarian risotto with beech mushrooms, lemon comfit and spinach to $38 for the Steak Frites, which is served with a Wölffer cabernet franc reduction.
Wölffer rose is not only popular at beaches, boats, and restaurants, but in the mussels on their new restaurant’s menu. Starters also include a summer onion soup with goat cheese crostini, lobster deviled eggs, house made ricotta with hazelnut praline, local plums and Arugula, and sirloin beef carpaccio, which is cured in house and served with smoked almonds and chimichurri.
Roman Roth, Wölffer Estate’s famed winemaker and partner, advises on the wine list with by-the-glass or bottle selections of sparkling, rose, white, and red wines, as well as hard ciders. The Sagaponack Estate wines are accompanied on the menu by local and international wines, as well as craft beers, organic sake-on-tap, and combinations like a dry cider cocktail made with fresh ginger and peach tea. A Free Spirit option sans alcohol is also offered.
The Wölffer heirs’ goal of opening for the 2015 summer season was met thanks to Nick Martin of Sagaponack’s Martin Architects, who managed every esthetic detail and the expert skills of local glass workers, wood flooring specialists, faux finish painters, and electricians. In just 87 days, reclaimed wood, cork, brick, and metals were also refinished by Pete Ryer. Master builders Nick and Nuzio Zappola and Ms. Wolffer’s husband, Max Rohn, the general manager of Wölffer Estate were a big part of the team’s successful launch. Ms. Wölffer has been especially busy with the recent birth of her daughter and her Styleliner boutique on Madison Street.
Wölffer Kitchen is at 29 Main Street next door to Sen Restaurant. Reservations can be requested online at wolfferkitchen.com or by phone at (631) 725-0101.